When Creating Your Message, Focus on Your Ideal Client
BY James Ambroff-Tahan STAFF CONTRIBUTOR
Your marketing strategy should always focus on attracting your ideal client. What characteristics do your best clients share? Follow these three steps to uncover your firm’s optimum online marketing strategy.
The launch of a law firm’s website marks a major event in that firm’s marketing strategy. With a website, a firm has the potential and opportunity to reach a global audience. It may sound counterintuitive, but after the website launches, the firm’s optimum marketing objective should not be to reach out to everyone possible. Rather, its team should focus on connecting with their target market, identifying and reaching out to an ideal client.
Resistance to the concept of limited focus may be based on the notion that doing so will lessen a firm’s opportunities for generating new clients. To the contrary: the decision to dilute focus away from a firm’s target market will cost that firm dearly. Many potential clients will never even notice the firm with such a strategy in place.
An applicable first-step principle of marketing points out the obvious: a business must be noticed by potential customers before it can attract their business. There are many benefits to a strategy that seeks attention from a specific group. To start, a firm that identifies and pursues its precise target market has an opportunity to stand out as its expert.
A law firm can narrow its marketing activities to offer a more precise message about the value the firm offers and the benefits of doing business with the firm. As a result, in the best-case outcome, the law firm will attract the most lucrative clients wishing to do business with the firm.
A focused firm also improves its efficiency and uses its resources more wisely. For example, a focused firm can select its ideal client’s most relevant social networks, rather than spread efforts all around the social media world. Furthermore, team members can identify and attend only those networking events that are relevant to a firm’s target market. And, whenever a firm crafts its messages, it can focus on its desired audience and use directly relatable language.
Step One: Self-Identification
A law firm needs to identify its strengths (i.e. its areas of specialty or services that it is best-suited to providing) so that the firm’s target market can, in turn, identify with them. After identifying its strengths, a law firm must telegraph them to its target market. Why is it better than the competition at providing those services? What it can offer that other firms do not?
Step Two: Target Identification
What, exactly, is a “target market?” In essence, a target market is defined as a specific group of people who have three characteristics:
- They want or need what that law firm has to offer.
- They know they have a need, and they understand the value of satisfying that need.
- They are willing to spend money to satisfy their need. If an individual does not have a need or desire for a law firm’s services, the law firm will not get his or her attention. Also, an individual must become aware of the fact that he or she wants or needs the services that the law firm has to offer — otherwise that person will not be paying attention to the firm’s message. And of course, if the individual does not have some means of paying for a law firm’s services, that person is not realistically a potential client.
Once a law firm has identified its own strengths, it must identify the target market that can employ its services. The firm achieves this by determining what characteristics members of the target market have in common, what individuals in the group need and are lacking, and the reason why such people would want to do business with the firm.
Step Three: Narrow the Field and Find the Ideal Client
After a law firm has identified its target market, it can narrow its focus even further by determining which examples of the target market represent the ideal client. Who, exactly, is this ideal client? An “ideal client” can be defined as the individual who finds perfect solutions to his or her problems or needs through the services that a specific law firm provides — and who may very well return to the firm for additional services and/or recommend the firm to other people. It is not hard to understand why a law firm would like to court its ideal client. Ideal clients typically provide a disproportionate share of the firm’s total income, so it stands to reason that multiplying the number of ideal clients will translate into an exponentially larger case load and income stream for the firm.
The incentive for connecting with a firm’s ideal clients is quite clear, but the steps toward finding the firm’s ideal clients are a different matter. To accomplish that task, it is necessary to create a profile that lists an ideal client’s specific identifying factors.
Identifying factors include:
- Employment status
- Leisure activities
- Memberships in organizations
- Computer type
- Smartphone type
- Motor vehicle type
- Housing type
- Marital status
- Number of children
- Political persuasion and participation
- Source for news
With an ideal client profile established through the compilation of demographic data, a law firm will have a much smoother path to crafting an online marketing strategy.
Simply put, that marketing strategy should to be tailored to meet the needs and wants of the firm’s ideal client. The firm should strive to communicate with the ideal client in a readily understandable, resonant way.
In order to achieve that kind of communication, the firm must optimize its website to convey its message directly and engagingly to the ideal client.
In aesthetic terms, the firm should create an attractive, relevant website with thoughtfully designed graphics and clearly written page copy and headlines. And the most captivating message — that the firm provides the services the ideal client needs or desires — should be prominently placed on the homepage.
In addition, a law firm must find the best way to speak with its ideal client in earnest conversation. Sometimes, attorneys working on marketing use the language that attorneys use to communicate with other attorneys, and it is not hard to see why. After all, the firm is trying to boast of its expertise. But it should be selling that expertise to the customers who would pay for it, not other lawyers who would be impressed by it. Accordingly, a breezy, approachable and direct style of writing should be employed. Topics and phrasing should be chosen to suit the ideal client’s interests and needs.
The development of an online marketing strategy for a law firm is really not all that difficult, once the firm’s ideal clients have been found. Once a firm’s ideal clients have been identified, the firm can reach out to them directly. And that targeted outreach will increase the chances that the firm will become the go-to resource for the services he or she needs and desires.